Museum of Broken Street Signs

By: Meghana Lakkireddy

I miss running down the street with you at half past 3
When your dad dropped you off after softball practice on Sunday afternoons.
And there was never anything more than grass stains on white pants and empty soda cans that my mom told me to throw away two hours ago.
The boys that surrounded us were growing into their bodies while we still tripped over our own names

That summer, we were our own gods
Worshipping at the steps of Wayne’s World and punk rock mutiny.
Our voices anything but tender, rasping jagged prayers for our holy sins.
Our holy, innocent, sins.

You never told me that I wasn’t good enough, even though I wasn’t ready to believe it.
Humidity contorting houses into saints
And I wished there was another way to tell you that every hair you wanted to rip from your body was there for a reason
Please forgive my rambling “take me backs” and “I still love yous”

Everything that crawled on our wretched skin recoiled in disgust at the two teenagers in love, scared to touch each other in public, wearing yellow raincoats that didn’t ever keep us warm.
Why was it the responsibility of two strung out fifteen year old girls to take the brunt of the world’s hatred?
Why couldn’t I love you in peace, without Leviticus 18 breathing down our necks to remind us of our sins?
It was all too much to handle I guess.

I hate your new boyfriend and his stupid $800 dollar bass guitar that he can barely play,
And his superiority complex,
And how he only listens to music by greasy white boys who can’t sing.
I hate his stupid haircut and how he probably only showers once a week because he always smells like sweat,
And how he touches you without your permission,
And doesn’t bother texting back unless it’s for nudes,
And I hate this stupid poem because I have so many things to tell you but I don’t know how.

I guess I kissed too many people after we broke up
And I haven’t washed your sweatshirt yet.
I sleep with it every night.

I want you to know that the lamppost you kissed me under needs a lightbulb replacement
And that I failed my driver’s test more times than you can imagine
And I wanted to be your first and last love, but things rarely work like that, you know?
I need you to understand that everything we did changed me for the better

Please tell me that you understand who you have the potential to become
Please tell me this’ll somehow work out in the end
Promise me that once this is all over, we won’t look back and laugh
That we’ll finally grow into our blessed limbs